The appointment of Etekamba Umoren as a Resident Electoral Commissioner has been rejected by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Senate recently confirmed the appointments of seven out of the ten RECs nominated by President Bola Tinubu. Those confirmed include Umoren (Akwa Ibom), Isah Ehimeakne (Edo), Oluwatoyin Babalola (Ekiti), Abubakar Ma’aji (Gombe), Shehu Wahab (Kwara), Aminu Idris (Nasarawa), and Mohammed Sadiq (Niger).
However, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, expressed concern during a press conference in Abuja, labelling these appointments as part of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) alleged strategy to maintain power by influencing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ologunagba specifically raised objections to the appointment of Etekamba Umoren as the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, given his affiliation with the APC, despite widespread opposition and rejection by Nigerians, the PDP, and the people of Akwa Ibom State.
He pointed out that Umoren is a prominent leader of the APC who actively participated in the party’s campaigns and promoted its interests in previous elections.
Furthermore, Ologunagba emphasized that this appointment contradicts Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2022, which prohibits individuals holding elective offices or being registered members of a political party from being eligible for or appointed to roles such as returning officer, electoral officer, presiding officer, or poll clerk.
Ologunagba regarded Umoren’s appointment as a severe blow to INEC’s credibility as a democratic institution and a violation of the electoral process’s sanctity. He argued that it compromises the independence, integrity, and credibility of the electoral system and cannot be allowed to stand, as it is causing significant unrest in Akwa Ibom State.
In conclusion, Ologunagba urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to promptly appoint a neutral Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State to prevent future electoral crises and illegitimacy in the state, emphasizing the importance of promoting national unity and loyalty in all parts of Nigeria, as envisaged by the Constitution.
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